Mammillaria plumosa, Feather Cactus, is an unusual and extremely attractive clumping cactus that is characterised by distinctive soft feather-like spines. The tubercles have no central spine but produce many radial spines and from these radial spines are produced white hair-like trichomes that give it the appearance of a downy feathers or a mass of cotton wool. The pink buds open to flowers that are creamy-white with a pale pink medial stripe. Sometimes the colour of the medial stripe is dominant and on these individual plants the flowers appear more pink with two pale-cream marginal stripes on either side.
Native to Mexico, where it has a relatively restricted range in the northeastern states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, it is found in arid alkaline subscrub and perched on cliffs growing at elevations from 730 to 1,350m. Because of continuing illegal collection from the wild there has been a decline in its population and it is now listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List - just one level down from Vulnerable.
The perfect plant pet, Mammillaria plumosa is very easy to cultivate and is ideal as a gift to a loved one, particularly to encourage the next up-and-coming generation of plant-lovers.
|Synonyms||Chilita plumosa, Ebnerella plumosa, Escobariopsis plumosa, Neomammillaria plumosa|
|Geographical Origin||Mexico: Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Tolerates some partial shade. Free-draining mineral substrate with limestone added. Perfect houseplant. No water from October through to March|
|Hardiness||Cold tolerant. In the UK usually fine in a cool unheated glasshouse. Cover with fleece in colder regions or during extended sub-zero episodes. Ideal as a houseplant|
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